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Nigeria’s unit of Royal Dutch Shell loses battle over N17 bln payment on oil spill

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By GFDNews Correspondent

Local unit of Royal Dutch Shell on Friday lost the legal battle to get the Nigerian Supreme Court to upturn its decision to award N17 billion against the oil giant in favour of the Ogoni Communities in River state.

The Supreme Court dismissed an application by the oil giant, requesting that the apex bank should revisit its January 11, 2019 judgment ordering it to pay N17 billion to some Ogoni communities affected by an oil spill from the company in 1970.

A five-man panel led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour unanimously dismissed the company’s application for a review of the judgment after upholding the preliminary objection filed by the communities’ legal team.

Justice Centus Nweze prepared Friday’s lead ruling but it was read by another Justice of the apex court, Justice Chukwudumebi Oseji, who is not a member of the five-man panel.

The apex court had in the case which had lasted about 31 years from when it started at the High Court, issued the N17 billion order in favour of Ejama-Ebubu in Tai Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, represented by Isaac Agbara and nine others.

Lead Lawyer to the communities, Lucius Igwe, said the judgment sum with the accrued interests for the 32 years period stood at about N182bn.

At the September 22, 2020 hearing leading to the Supreme Court’s ruling delivered on Friday, Nwosu had urged the apex court not to only dismiss the application, but to also make an order against all the senior lawyers in Shell’s legal team as “deterrence” for the filing of the judicial review application which he alleged was aimed at ridiculing the integrity and finality of the decisions of the apex court.

Shell’s legal team led by Wole Olanipekun also includes Lateef Fagbemi, a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Kanu Agabi, Wale Babalakin, and Wale Akoni.

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